This BMW XM is a Huge Shift for BMW. Here’s Why.

This BMW XM is a Huge Shift for BMW. Here’s Why.

Another day, another new BMW SUV, with another pair of enormous “kidney” grilles, almost comparable to lungs now. The second model exclusively for the marque’s M Performance division, following the 1978 M1 supercar, the XM is an enormous hybrid SUV, powered by the same 4.4-litre twin-turbocharged V8 that you find in the M5 and M8, as well as an electric plug-in hybrid system, producing 480kW (644hp) of power and 800Nm (590 ft-lbs) of torque.

While 44 years younger than the M1, this XM may not feature similar dynamic prowess, riding on monstrous 22-inch wheels (23s are a no-cost option), and weighing in at a frankly absurd 2,710kg. And while it may not sound very promising for a lap of the Nürburgring, the main issue with the XM is its styling. BMW has recently made some polarising cars, such as the new M3 and 4-Series, as well as the hideous iX, but this XM takes the cake.

BMW XM rear.

This new SUV has the most prominent grilles on a BMW ever, outlined in LED and gold insert (on the launch car), and while not quite as excessive as the XM Concept, it makes up for it with over-styling in every other area. The latest split-level headlight design from the X7 facelift and new 7 Series returns for another rather unglamorous feature on the XM too, with gold insert outlining the side window frame. The rear is actually quite flattering, its distinctive taillight design and quad quasi-triangular tailpipes complimented by yet more gold. You can option more subtle colours, and even opt for your XM to be black-on-black, which helps tone down the design considerably. While the XM is technically a younger brother to the M1, the only similarity you will find are the double BMW roundels on the upper rear windscreen.

And this XM is the embodiment of BMW’s shift. This SUV represents BMW’s shift away from the driving enjoyment and proper aesthetics that come from passenger cars. While petrolheads and anyone with the gift of sight will scoff (or even vomit) at the sight of one, it is the fault of only the consumer.

BMW XM front, with LED grille surrounds.

We see car companies who promise to never build SUVs fall to the ever-increasing demands of the people and the ever-tightening restrictions on emissions. We witnessed the Lamborghini Urus, the Aston Martin DBX, and most recently, the Ferrari Purosangue, despite Ferrari’s then-senior vice president of design, Flavio Manzoni, saying “you’d have to shoot me first”. McLaren too, despite shunning the idea of an SUV in 2016, is now looking to unveil and produce an SUV, powered purely by electricity, before 2030.

BMW, in making this XM, is simply trying too hard to please the consumer. It will sell, despite its astronomical price point (~AUD$300,000 before on-road costs), but it is surely not where the German marque saw itself back in 1990.